They've benefited from scholarships, so Xu Tang and Allison Epstein volunteer to raise funds for other students in financial crises. 
Image by Preeta Gupta

“Receiving a scholarship has pretty much been one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me,” says Allison Epstein, a junior majoring in English and creative writing, and minoring in French in LSA’s Residential College (RC).

That seems to be the general sentiment among her peers in Appreciate + Reciprocate [A+R], a group of some 70 LSA scholarship recipients who work together to raise funds for other students experiencing financial need. 

Through bake sales, variety shows, and a benefit dinner, the group’s goal is to assist other students in the same way group members have been helped financially.

“My scholarship was the leading factor in coming to U-M. My older sister graduated from college this spring; my younger brother will be attending college in the fall. We’re a middle-class family, and it’s tough on any family to afford the costs to send multiple kids to college,” says Epstein.

Scholarship Students in Action

Epstein has maximized her U-M experience. For two years she has mentored first-year students through the RC, and she’s currently the editor of the RC’s literary magazine. She spent six weeks last summer studying French in Grenoble, France, through LSA’s Center for Global and International Studies. She also serves as a publishing intern for AdiosBarbie, a website promoting gender equality and positive body image. And this past winter she published a Russian historical romance novel, titled Na Zdarov'ye, through Amazon’s CreateSpace.

But her busy schedule hasn’t kept her from staying involved in A+R. Along with fundraising, the group also participates in volunteer work locally.

This past March, they joined thousands of others for Detroit Partnership Day, or DP Day, a service-learning opportunity in the city. “We spent a cold day cleaning up debris at a playground,” says Epstein. “Our work extends beyond the University of Michigan; we try to help the local community as well.”

Help for Students in Crises

A+R members fundraise specifically for the LSA Emergency Scholarship Fund, which assists current students experiencing unexpected financial crises, such as a parent’s sudden illness or loss of employment. “At the core of fundraising is the belief that financial hardship should not stand in the way of anyone’s education,” the A+R website explains.

“We’re all so grateful to be Michigan students, and we want to be sure that others have the opportunity to experience the University of Michigan. In the case of the Emergency Scholarship Fund, we’re helping students that are already here,” says Epstein.

“It’s really cool to have that sense of community. We all know what we received; we understand how big of a deal that a scholarship is. So we’re joined by this common goal to help others have the same opportunity. Having this same motivation makes us really productive as a group.”

To support the LSA Emergency Scholarship Fund, please click here to give.